Author Topic: Afghanistan: Lessons Learned (merged)  (Read 193396 times)

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Offline boondocksaint

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Re: Lessons for the Infantry in Afghanistan
« Reply #50 on: October 20, 2006, 16:28:15 »
Panjawi

At this point most folks are reasonably familiar with that name, it is a complex environment. It is also where most of us experienced our first true combat. Up until the time our Coy/ Pl went into Panjawi we had been IED'd multiple times, VBIE'd, rocketed, RPG'd, attacked in various ways. But it was not until Panjawi we experienced prolonged combat with an enemy that didnt 'shoot and scoot'.

For our Pl it required us to evolve everyday, sometimes every hour. We entered the outer rim during the middle of the night at the beginning of the op and within 15 minutes we were in an ambush while driving to our positions. Fought through RPG fire and small arms with only 1 antennea getting hit. Upon consolidating it was decided to use another route, we were again ambushed, but this time decided to take 'their' ground from them. While this was going on, pretty much every other element involved was also fighting it out in their various areas. The sky looked like something out of the Baghdad footage from the old days. Tracer everyhwere, theirs and ours. And the blessed Boom Boom Boom of 25mm.

Being in the air hatch we would fire at targets, drop down to reload and swap out with the next guy who had just done the same. Occasionally the 'green fire hose' of RPK tracer would direct itself at us and we'd drop down fast squishing the other guys while it passed over us. Forced the TB in our area to bugger off ( the ones still alive ) and prepared to enter the town on foot at first light. We'd been fighting now for about 2-3 hours, off and on.

The Lav's provided overwatch while we would locate a feasible way for them to enter the town, clearing as we went. Found many dead TB, and drag marks and kit. As we were making our way down an outer road to link up with one of our Pl's we were hit again, near the rear of our Pl where the ANA/ETT were. They took up positions along a wall and returned fire while we moved back to their positions. Again RPG, RPK and small arms, and now a mortar.

Quickly linked up just short of the ANA with the other section comd and asked him to 'dust the rooftops' with grenades to suppress the small arms, this way I could get my guys up to the wall and help the ANA out. That is the footage from the combat camera of grenades being thrown one after another over the wall. This was the first time under contact I had to make decisions as a leader, using what I thought was a dried vineyard my sect got moving and had to cover about 50m to get to the wall where the ANA were. Quickly sank calf deep in a not so dry vineyard and sloshed our way forward taking small arms and the occasional mortar round ( not accurate, but noisy ) The RPG's that missed the wall, sailed over us, but the soft ground also helped absorb them.

Finally made it to the wall and started defining targets, and returing fire. As the lads got shooting I spent time going to each one and asking what he was engaging, firing a few rounds and making my way down the line to the next guy. Found the ETT and linked up with him, talked about the situation and targets. We decided to 'step up' the fire from both of our sections to start winning the firefight.

Winning the firefight....remember being assessed and hearing 'ok, you won the firefight and then you...'

Winning the firefight can be an ever evolving event. It's not a 'phase' or 'checkbox' and procceed to the next step. At this point our Pl WO arrived with the C-6 and added its weight. The ETT very calmly got his own RPG gunners to get ready to return fire, and I had one of my guys get his M-72 ready . Holy loud batman. Fighting is generally louder then you think it will be, but with all that firepower going at the enemy it was body shaking. Not that I wasnt shaking pretty good anyway. An incoming RPG can have quite an effect on you even when it isnt a direct hit, several hit our wall or just in front, and its....unsettling. Now it was our turn to unsettle them.

Either we scored enough hits, or hit close enough, that the enemy fire slackened dramatically. The other sect had secured one flank while the Chimo's attached to us had moved up a bit earlier and secured the other flank.  The Pl comd was coordinating the big stuff with higher right on the firing line with us, calmly describing the situation, and asking for, and getting every asset he wanted. No umpire to say 'no'.

This also has an effect on the lads, a very positive one. Anytime our arty, or CAS helps us out, it was a powerful morale booster. That's our stuff, our big toys, we have them, you (they) dont, you perk up when a minute ago you were exhausted, smiles break out, you know you will win.

You dont always know what the outcome of a fight will be, are we winning? are they? Every fight I was in had a dramatically different 'feel' or 'tone'. And during a particular fight it can change. As this was our first real fight on the ground, we were miles from experienced or savy, didnt know what to expect. All of these things do eventually dawn on you, different bullet noises, RPG noises, grenade blasts, enemy shouts and your own shouts.

We were told to pull back, let the 'big toys' finish the enemy off, grab the Lav's and go in and mop up. Broke contact, and moved back to the overwatch position. Aside from dehydration ( 0630 and 45degrees ) some sprains and hearing loss, all ok. Rebomb boys were going back in. Everyone was ready in moments.
We began to evolve.

We had survived, now we would become aggresive. We would no longer just sit behind a wall, we would push, attack, flank and get as close as we could and finish the enemy. This evolution happens to everyone. Not only did you survive, you didnt piss yourself ( much ) your friends and sect mates are with you, you defeated the enemy in a real fight, it wasnt pretty, it wasnt what you expected ( but some of it was ), but it worked. All of the little things in training paid off huge. Drills, trust, teamwork. And now some experience, not alot, but enough to start pushing back hard.

Our first day in Panjawi our PL had 5 TIC's. I dont remember sleeping or eating, or needing to, I just remember being with my friends doing what I'd trained my whole career to do.

As always these are the experiences I had with my Pl. Not doctrine, or the gospel on how to fight a battle. I realize after writing this one it was more of what was going on in my head then how the fight was fought. Maybe that will help the next guy going over.








« Last Edit: October 20, 2006, 20:01:05 by boondocksaint »
In the company of soldiers I don't have to pretend to be the person Im not, Or strike that pose, however well intentioned, that is expected by those who have not known me under arms. In the company of soldiers all my crimes are forgiven-I am safe-I am known-I am home-In the company of soldiers.

Offline GAP

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Re: Lessons for the Infantry in Afghanistan
« Reply #51 on: October 20, 2006, 16:49:19 »
Quote
Maybe that will help the next guy going over.

And it will. You have put into writing in a clear coherent way, what every body thinks and does. Not exactly, but you have grabbed and displayed the essence of being there.

Like you said, every TIC is different, but the essence remains the same. That "big picture" of what is happening, where it is happening and what needs to happen next become clear as a bell. Thank you, you just brought back the feeling of contact I haven't felt in 30+ years, and I found I missed it.
 :salute:
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Offline boondocksaint

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Re: Lessons for the Infantry in Afghanistan
« Reply #52 on: October 20, 2006, 21:16:39 »
GAP- thank you.

Panjawi- evolving

Later that same morning we began moving back into our previous contact site. This time we brought the Lav's. Bear in mind this was all new to us, and we were still feeling things out. The debate about fighting vehicles in MOUT/FIBUA has raged for ages. We managed to find ways to make it work for us. Winning the firefight became a bit easier.

Having cleared several hundred metres of road, compounds and terrain our PL took up positions along a wall for a breather. While resting and rehydrating one of the C-9 gunners beside me was avidly watching something in his scope and not breathing, I asked him what was wrong. I think I see Taliban.

WHERE? Immediatly the entire Pl was on their feet scoping the indicated area about 125m away. He'd spotted a Taliban with an RPK moving into a firing position along a rubbled wall. Confirmed, open fire lads. The entire Pl fired, at about the exact same moment, so did the Taliban, and his other concealed friends. The RPK gunner went down, but his weapon was grabbed by another TB, moved and set up again. It began firing at the wall inbetween our C-6 gunner and myself. Time for a new position. In one of the Panjawi vid's you can hear our WO telling us to watch our flank, moved the lads down to the flank while the PL shook out, and the ANA as well shook out.

Here is where the Lav goes to work. Calmly, systematically destroying enemy positions. I had the left flank with my guys, and the WO set up the C-6 in a place of vantage. We were taking fire from several rooftops about 125m away, as well as the wall. After linking up with him we decided we could try to flank their position. The American ETT had previously warned us that several of his friends had been killed and wounded less then 150m from our position months earlier in a trap. With this in mind we started our movement clearing as we went. Our PL comd was already coordinating arty, the ETT was going from ANA to ANA and correcting his firing stance as Scott Kesterson said 'like a school teacher'. Imagine controlling your section in a firefight, now add an interpreter.

We'd made it about 30m up the flank when an RPK opened up on our position. They had us bracketed fast, and our cover was being torn apart.  They knew the area and had been prepared. Unlike training you dont always get to the objective the first time.

Back up boys, timmie has this covered.
Kudos to timmie.

At about this time, our other Pl on our flank intercepted and destroyed several Taliban trying to get our flank. They also evolve.

We made our way back to the flank corner with the WO, drop the boys in firing positions, and then go over to the closest Lav. Once briefed on the exact target area, he destroyed it effectively. It's nearing noon, and the heat is brutal, you find a water bottle in your hand without noticing you've pulled one out. Crew comd's are tossing boxes of water off in the middle of the fight for us. We've been fighting for close to an hour this time and the word comes down ' impact in 15 seconds!'

We get low, but are still too curious about the target effects not to watch the rounds come in. On target . On target again, and again. Target destroyed, God bless the guns. This was one of those fights that actually ended with a bang, sometimes they just fizzle out.

After securing the area, our other PL searched the enemy positions, several dead, and several more blood trails. On one of the rooftops a destroyed mortar position is located, the one who'd earlier given us more hearing loss.  One of the Panjawi vid's shows us walking their positions the next day, and pointing out ours.

Our feeling of accomplishment is quickly shattered when a soldier in another Coy 400m from ours is killed. One of our friends from our Coy is wounded in the hand by an enemy grenade trying to clear resistance. He is a sect comd and goes in every door first, not to be a hero. But because he doesnt want harm to come to any of his guys. This is wildly common, noone wants to lose one of their men, and you find yourself taking alot of the 'hard spots' yourself without realizing it. The most agonizing decisions I made in contact were having to send my boys into a spot if I wasnt in a position to do this myself. You have to do it, you cant do it all yourself. And your boys dont want you to.

Our PL comd did it
Our WO did it
The Lav crews would drive in front of you and suck up damage when they knew you were being pounded.
The ANA also proved their bravery under fire for us more then once, as did their ETT.
The lowest Pte's also did it, going to the 'hard spot' on his own so that noone else would have to.


As a history geek, I've often read accounts of Civil war soldiers hiding behind a single tree, ten in a row. This may have less to do with cover, then it has to do with the sense of security you get from being next to a buddy. I've seen guys leave their own ample cover and run through fire to get to a friend for no other reason then to share their security. Guys will instinctively 'scooch' over next to each other under heavy fire, must be that nesting thing.

As always, this is not the holy grail of fighting, tactics or doctrine. Just some experiences that hopefully help someone in the future.





 




In the company of soldiers I don't have to pretend to be the person Im not, Or strike that pose, however well intentioned, that is expected by those who have not known me under arms. In the company of soldiers all my crimes are forgiven-I am safe-I am known-I am home-In the company of soldiers.

Offline Patrick H.

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Re: Lessons for the Infantry in Afghanistan
« Reply #53 on: October 20, 2006, 21:25:17 »
Boondock, thank you.

Keep them coming.

 :salute: :cdn:
Some mornings it just doesn't seem worth it to gnaw through the leather straps.

"It isn't what you've lost, but what you have left." - My great Uncle Daniel J MacDonald, Veteran Affairs Minister 1972.

Offline boondocksaint

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Re: Lessons for the Infantry in Afghanistan
« Reply #54 on: October 21, 2006, 16:35:44 »
 Hyderabad

If you've read Scott Kesterson's reports about Hyderabad, or seen the video, you have a good idea of what went on. I'll fill in some other spots.

Our Pl was given a task in coordination with Recce to check out some compounds on the outskirts of Hyderabad. Recce moved in during the night on foot, to get some 'eyes on'. Then we were to move in and check things out, a sect of chimo's were attached as per normal. As we moved up to our staging area we dropped the ramps for a last nervous pee, and a hasty breakfast of beefjerky, stale chips and some weird type of soda. It was that time of morning when it's still dark, but you can see quite far, that's when the tracer started flying.

We were about 500m away and could see green tracer ( bad ) and red tracer ( good ) streaking at each other, as well as the distinct rattle of small arms and RPG's. Recce was in it. On the radio speaker we heard their Pl comd give a quick sitrep, very calm, but it amplified the background noise of batte. We ramped up and looked at our own Pl comd's Lav. Another sitrep from Recce, things are not good, heavily outnumbered, need help now, our Pl comd points to the town and our lead Lav gets moving.

Alot of us in our Pl have known the guys in Recce for 5-10-15 years, and knowing they were in trouble lent a real sense of emergency to an already bad situation. We took small arms on our approach but did a 'thunder run' into town and broke into Recce's encircled area. They had about 12 dismounts ( IIRC ) and had been fighting an estimated 40ish taliban. Aggresive taliban. That was one of the first things I noticed when the ramp dropped. They were pushing us. We now had several Tic's under our belts, we had confidence, some experience, high morale, and a feeling that noone could beat us. But very quickly in this fight we realized these taliban were very tough, aggresive and well armed.

I knew my Pl comd was in the turret, so I was looking for the WO when a buddy from Recce ran through fire to link up with us. In the video you can hear him yell ' compound 75m', off we went. The taliban compounds and positions were on the other side of a high berm that ran along the banks of a steep and deep waterway/creek. Gained the top of the berm, and commenced firing at groups of taliban about 50m away. We had the height advantage and could look down into their compounds in some spots, and started hitting them hard. A couple of minutes into it, some of our Lav's, including the Chimo Lav moved up carefully since the fields were heavily irrigated. Once in position they started pounding the enemy as well. On this side of the field, timmie was dying or running.

I wanted to get into the compounds to clear them, but had no way to cross the water, so I grabbed the lads and started off towards the only bridge about 100m away. At this point I realized the C-6 team and some other members of the Pl were coming with us. It happens, it's dark, loud and confusing, just make sure you know who has attached themselves to you. Then you can pass it down at some point, that everyone's accounted for.

One of our Lav's was on the bridge creeping forward pounding a compound that was giving us trouble, a couple of grenades were tossed at us and we all hit the dirt. I happened to do this on a bare road, realized my stupidity and started cursing. Also caught on video for posterity. Elements of Recce were still up forward and we fought our way up next to them. Together we redoubled our fire and started to take the fight to the enemy hard. The enemy would not go away. I yelled for the closest Lav to move up so we could get behind it ( tank ) and assault the compound that was shooting at us. Jammed cannon.

While the gunner was clearing the cannon, we kept up a high rate of fire, advancing as much as we could. Boom Boom Boom he's back in action and off we go. One of my boys prep's a grenade and slams it into the window where we've been getting shot at from. Boom. I spray the room. Room clear. We need to get around the side of the compound to get into it, and that's where the heavy enemy fire is coming from. Everything is on fire, smoke is burning our eyes, but it does provide us some cover. Around the corner Im about to head into what I thought would be one doorway, theres about 3 immediate doors, heavy fire coming from one. Back up! Back up! too many rooms.

My favorite fragger was out of grenades so I get him to fire on the doors while I get my grenades ready. Boom Boom, get up, spray room, room clear. We also used the Lav to knock in some walls when it seemed prudent. The ANA and ETT are also fighting hard and pushing quickly under heavy fire.  Enemy fire is starting to dwindle off now. They are using ditches along the fields as cover and appear to be pulling back, when we are told to pull back, there may be a plan for arty. Now we break contact, Recce out first , then the rest of us, crammed into our Lav's. Good job boys.

Moved back about 200m, still in town, and started re-bombing,10 minutes later got word to head back in on foot, vehicles in close support. Came under contact again, our lead Lav caught an RPG team trying to set up and destroyed them. Resistance broke quickly after that and we cleared the remainder of the area without much further fighting.

Now the chimo's went into their primary role, while we helped where we could, and secured the area.
Lots of bodies, trails and weapons, and alot of black tar heroin. No wonder they fought so hard. During the fight one of the Recce guys was hit in the armour, it saved his life.

We had fought for over an hour, at times the enemy showed great resolve and a determination to drive us off. These guys in particular were very tough, they moved aggresively and fought hard. Later, back in the leaguer we found we had an even tighter bond with the guys in Recce. We had other fights ahead of us, Sangin , Gorak and others, but that bond with Recce would prove invaluable when we went back to Panjawi on Aug 3rd.

Again, these are the experiences we had, not TTP's or SOP's on conducting a fight.









In the company of soldiers I don't have to pretend to be the person Im not, Or strike that pose, however well intentioned, that is expected by those who have not known me under arms. In the company of soldiers all my crimes are forgiven-I am safe-I am known-I am home-In the company of soldiers.

Offline Infanteer

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Re: Lessons for the Infantry in Afghanistan
« Reply #55 on: October 21, 2006, 16:55:25 »
During the fight one of the Recce guys was hit in the armour, it saved his life.

This isn't the first time I've seen this; many AAR's coming from Iraq and Afghan state ALWAYS wear your IPE.  It may be "nice" of a leader to allow guys to doff it in the heat, but it doesn't do anyone favours when there is a sudden TIC (to use the new mot du jour).

BDS, I have a question.  In your experience, was there a difference in the enemy.  It is just generic "Taliban" in the media, but when you guys went over the scenes of fights, did you find that the enemy varied from fight to fight.  Maybe some Pashtun Taliban here, or some foreign Jihadis there.  If so, was there a difference in the quality and/or approaches to fighting of different groups of bad guys?
"Overall it appears that much of the apparent complexity of modern war stems in practice from the self-imposed complexity of modern HQs" LCol J.P. Storr

Offline boondocksaint

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Re: Lessons for the Infantry in Afghanistan
« Reply #56 on: October 21, 2006, 18:41:51 »
Within moments of contact, you get an impression of the quality and quantity of the enemy. Different regions had different fighters. Without getting into detail, there are confirmed cases of various 'jihadists' from many different places.

In Hyderabad those particular fighters were on the higher end of taliban we fought. Of course they were defending ALOT of recently harvested black tar heroin. Which by the way, we had know idea about before the fight. If im timmie taliban and I lose $XXXX amount of drugs to the Canadians, he's probably in some doo doo. Hence he fought very hard. And was well armed.

Age and leadership played a role as well. The older guys, some Mujahdeen era fighters, were very aggresive. Their entire adult life has been combat of one form or another. While the younger guys would stand in the middle of a field or road and shoot from the hip, an older guy would have very advanced fire positions and tactics.

We practice against stationary non active targets. Experienced taliban actively seek your flank or other weak spot and move to exploit it. He does not sit idly by waiting for you to root him out. When we clear trenches in Wainwright the Fig 11's convienently stay in their hole, timmie does not. This was hard to get used to, but the more experienced we became, the quicker we were to develop the battlefield and get to work before he did. Take away his options, make him do what you want him to, then destroy him. He is very actively trying to do this to you.

One of the things some of us noticed was ' fighting to their level'. By this I mean that if the enemy was firing 30 rds a minute at us, we'd slow our fire down. If he stopped firing RPG's we stopped firing M-72's. That wins you no fights. If he stepped up his fire, so did we. Cancel that. YOU set the tempo. We corrected that with experience.

For every fight we made it through, we gained knowledge and experience. They do the same, when the fight us and live, they now have knowledge and experience. Hence why the American general we met told us ' kill them really dead the first time, then you wont have to fight that same guy again'.

IPE is crucial, life saving. You cant wear it all the time in a state of 'hyper vigilance', troops will burn out. There are places you wear it all the time, and there are places you can set it within arms reach in order to relax. Choose wisely. We wore it up mountains, in contact with 65 degree heat and everything inbetween, get used to it in training, it'll save your life.

In the company of soldiers I don't have to pretend to be the person Im not, Or strike that pose, however well intentioned, that is expected by those who have not known me under arms. In the company of soldiers all my crimes are forgiven-I am safe-I am known-I am home-In the company of soldiers.

Offline kerfuffled

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Re: Lessons for the Infantry in Afghanistan
« Reply #57 on: October 21, 2006, 23:55:27 »
Boondocksaint, awesome posts, my heart swells with pride at you fine Canadian lads. God bless. :salute:
Am right this minute cracking a beer in your honour. :cdn:

Offline BYT Driver

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Re: Lessons for the Infantry in Afghanistan
« Reply #58 on: October 22, 2006, 00:13:07 »
BDS, I must say that your thread is quite the eye opener into the hearts and minds of our soldiers.  Your stories are well told and much appreciated.  It is with sunken heart that I will never meet "men" of your calibre, except to recieve them home on the Airbus.
There is always an open beer on my table.
 :salute:
GP 

Offline warchild

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Re: Lessons for the Infantry in Afghanistan
« Reply #59 on: October 24, 2006, 22:36:11 »
Very well done on all AAR's and points to look at for later training.  Hopefully this will be noticed and as the CO said "It is a sect comd fight".  Let's hope that the dist list will be big and we can finally get away from "RANGISM"S and "WATCISM".  Along with that,  now that the door is open to the military community it would be great if these hard lessons learned are actually thought of for the future implimentation into training.
What I want is the discipline of a well-trained pack of hounds.  You find your own holes through the hedges.  I'm not going to tell you where they are.  But never lose sight of your objective.  Reach it in your own way.
Lieutenant-Gen Sir Julian Byng to his officers Vimy sector, 1917

Offline silentbutdeadly

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Re: Lessons for the Infantry in Afghanistan
« Reply #60 on: October 25, 2006, 18:52:27 »
Its like Warchild said Its a Sect Comdr fight and allot of our training from now on should be geared towards that style of combat. At least we could go up to PL size tactics, but the days of Coy and Cbt tm attacks are going the way of the FN. Yes a Coy might move into a staging area and have a AOR within the operation, but its the Platoons and the Sections that are dictating the fight to the enemy not the Coy Comdr. The Coy Comdr most of the time is going off of advice of the troops on the ground if that. Many a Pl Comdr/WO/Sect Comdr called in there own Arty and CAS.

Offline Infanteer

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Re: Lessons for the Infantry in Afghanistan
« Reply #61 on: October 25, 2006, 19:04:58 »
In that vein, perhaps the USMC is going down the right path with their concept of Distributed Operations, which seeks to increase the capabilities of the infantry squad (section) to make it more independant through various improvements in things like comms, kit (lighten it up!), weapons systems (increased lethality at squad level).

https://www.mccdc.usmc.mil/FeatureTopics/DO/A%20Concept%20for%20Distributed%20Operations%20-%20Final%20CMC%20signed%20co.pdf

Anyways, the floor is yours again.

Infanteer
"Overall it appears that much of the apparent complexity of modern war stems in practice from the self-imposed complexity of modern HQs" LCol J.P. Storr

Offline warchild

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Re: Lessons for the Infantry in Afghanistan
« Reply #62 on: October 25, 2006, 21:09:53 »
Yes and what is the 1st Bn doing in 07....  CTCC (Combat Team Commanders Crse).  Now I realize that this was on the books before we left but given what we learned over there I hope that within the scope of the CTCC that some "Outside the box" scenario's are used.  In saying that I also hope that any and all training we do from now on, that we use a creative flair towards the training scenario's that we will use.  An example of poor creativeness on the range would be by an OIC/RSO and Snr NCo (who will assist in the scenario) would be the "good old section attack with 3 mags and one en".  If that happens that will push guy's out.  We need to mirror as best as possible the compounds, trails, and natural obstacles here so the sect comd can get used to the chaos and confusion to best prep himself, his sect and over all his Pl prior to going in.  I just want to say one more thing about that.  Yes we will have to do more training both blank and live.  Just because we have experienced combat does not make us "Exempt from anything but live".  Just wanted to say that because I heard some talk today from some people that I thought would know better.
What I want is the discipline of a well-trained pack of hounds.  You find your own holes through the hedges.  I'm not going to tell you where they are.  But never lose sight of your objective.  Reach it in your own way.
Lieutenant-Gen Sir Julian Byng to his officers Vimy sector, 1917

Offline Thucydides

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Re: Lessons for the Infantry in Afghanistan
« Reply #63 on: October 25, 2006, 23:58:33 »
The problem, as always, is resources. We will have to engage all brain cells to think of effective training scenarios and venues without having access to fully instrumented MOUT ranges or crowds of actors representing the normal activity in the market place. Of course it is a bit difficult to train to patrol in a RG-31 when they are all in the sandbox........

I'm sure there is enough creativity in our troops and junior leaders to start taking this project on right now. We need widest dissemination of "Lessons Learned" in order to assist people in designing scenarios and interpreting the training as successful or not (without the metrics like the "seven steps of a section attack" check box sheet).
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline PPCLI Guy

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Re: Lessons for the Infantry in Afghanistan
« Reply #64 on: October 26, 2006, 00:05:25 »
I'm sure there is enough creativity in our troops and junior leaders to start taking this project on right now. We need widest dissemination of "Lessons Learned" in order to assist people in designing scenarios and interpreting the training as successful or not (without the metrics like the "seven steps of a section attack" check box sheet).

1 VP will conduct a 3 day AAR post Remembrance week, and capture LL and AAR pts - and then lead the Bde Leadership Symposium.  We will do our best to create useable product that is accessible to all - and that will include LL from the process of Recovery and Regeneration.
"The higher the rank, the more necessary it is that boldness should be accompanied by a reflective mind....for with increase in rank it becomes always a matter less of self-sacrifice and more a matter of the preservation of others, and the good of the whole."

Karl von Clausewitz

Offline MCG

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Re: Lessons for the Infantry in Afghanistan
« Reply #65 on: October 26, 2006, 00:26:50 »
In that vein, perhaps the USMC is going down the right path with their ...
Infanteer,
In some ways we are not behind the bigger militaries in soldier modernization.  Have a look at Canada's SIREQ project (even the USMC is looking at this to help them define where they want to go): http://pubs.drdc.gc.ca/pubdocs/sireq_e.html

Note: specific studies can be found through the link to the upper left.

Offline warchild

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Re: Lessons for the Infantry in Afghanistan
« Reply #66 on: October 26, 2006, 20:40:32 »
I agree with a-majoor and also would still stress creativity.  We have spent so long working with less. Now that we have more it should be a no brainer.  However the attitude higher has to allow that, and allow the NCO's planning ranges along with he PL to be creative.  Saying "Think out side the box" is great but, you have to be allowed to "Play outside the box."  I have personally seen allot of people been "Put back in the box" because the person that these forward thinkers are bring their ideas to are old school and are uncomfortable doing something new or different.  So maybe it is a culture thing to.  But given that what we are now engaged in combat and with great forums such as this site to disseminate valueable lessons learned it will disseminate allot of the raw AAR's that are now going to be given allot more weight.  I think our new boss has the right idea's and will let us do it.  I hope that others even at the high end of the NCM side will follow his lead and let us "Be outside the box" and get over the idea that you should shave,  immediately after you have been in combat. ???
What I want is the discipline of a well-trained pack of hounds.  You find your own holes through the hedges.  I'm not going to tell you where they are.  But never lose sight of your objective.  Reach it in your own way.
Lieutenant-Gen Sir Julian Byng to his officers Vimy sector, 1917

Offline Thucydides

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Re: Lessons for the Infantry in Afghanistan
« Reply #67 on: October 26, 2006, 21:21:44 »
Having worked in training troops for many years, I am imprinted to some extent with the check box mentality (wandering around behind a section as the DS, your biggest thing was keeping the giant clipboard with marking sheets and assessment forms dry). For many people, filling in the check boxes is the "metric" for determining if a training event is successful.

There are some other issues to be addressed. Much of what we think we know is not from "proper sources", a common observation in Urban OPS is troops now tend to "stack" in four man bricks when assaulting buildings. While this seems to be a SOF/police thing, is it really the way "we" are supposed to do this? (This is a rhetorical question, BTW, for obvious reasons I don't expect an answer on this forum). Once again, wide dissemination of AARs through the proper channels will get everyone in the same headspace for planning, training and assessing.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline boondocksaint

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Re: Lessons for the Infantry in Afghanistan
« Reply #68 on: October 26, 2006, 21:44:42 »
A-majoor, I agree that there will always need a method of checking 'the box'. What I would put forward though, is that we can look at modifying those boxes and those checks. Recent experiences can be drawn on, and used to determine what needs revamping.  Of course once the LL and the AAR's are some what hashed out.

mmmmm evolution   ;D
In the company of soldiers I don't have to pretend to be the person Im not, Or strike that pose, however well intentioned, that is expected by those who have not known me under arms. In the company of soldiers all my crimes are forgiven-I am safe-I am known-I am home-In the company of soldiers.

Offline Haggis

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Re: Lessons for the Infantry in Afghanistan
« Reply #69 on: October 26, 2006, 22:22:36 »
We have spent so long working with less. Now that we have more it should be a no brainer. 

We have more in theatre than we've ever had before.  However back here at home the cupboards are still mostly bare.  This will become even more acute as more stuff gets destroyed and damaged in theatre and we start raping the units and CMTC for LAVs etc.  Already units are feeling the pinch in certain consumable commodites... and we still have 30 months of warfighting left in our current Afghanistan mandate.
Train like your life depends on it.  Some day, it may.

Offline paracowboy

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Re: Lessons for the Infantry in Afghanistan
« Reply #70 on: October 26, 2006, 22:36:24 »
However back here at home the cupboards are still mostly bare.  This will become even more acute as more stuff gets destroyed and damaged in theatre and we start raping the units...units are feeling the pinch in certain consumable commodites...
preach it Brother! Sing it!
...time to cull the herd.

Offline Technoviking

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Re: Lessons for the Infantry in Afghanistan
« Reply #71 on: October 27, 2006, 07:48:19 »
mmmmm evolution   ;D
evolution vice revolution ;D

As for "box checking", for this past summer, on the course for which I was crse O, the checklist was gone.  Yes, certain drills had to be done (eg: win the firefight BEFORE consolidation, as one blatant example); however, the "gut feel" of the DS, and leadership, were key.  In the end, some guys passed even though a box-checking event would have failed and others failed even though they hit every box in the old-style list.  The assessment process isn't perfect; however, it's better.  Will it ever be perfect?  I doubt it.  Will it get better?  I sure hope so!
So, there I was....

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Re: Lessons for the Infantry in Afghanistan
« Reply #72 on: October 27, 2006, 17:05:22 »
 As a old cold war warrior I would like to tell you guys how proud I am of you and the work you did in
A-stan. It makes me proud to have been in the same army that you guys are serving in and has gone a
long way in restoring my faith,which I must admit I was losing at the end of my enlistment.
 Having got that off my chest I have a question , are you satisfied with the range and stopping power
of the 5.56 round ?.Given the distances one can observe targets in a desert situation would not a heavier
round be an advantage?.
                             Regards
nothing is better for the morale of the troops
as occasionally to see a dead general
               field marshal slim

Offline Petard

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Re: Lessons for the Infantry in Afghanistan
« Reply #73 on: October 27, 2006, 17:25:29 »

As an example one fella called in a mission, and it was bang on.  Good initial grid, good "corrections" (based on "the round landed 'x' mils to the left", and so forth).  Then, the target was successfully engaged (the lad was doing a platoon attack).  Then the lad said "end of mission".  "End of mission out" was the reply.  Then he gave that target to the "FOO" (eg: the DS) for part of his fire plan.  The arty "missed".  Why?  He failed to "Record as target".  We gave him the lesson that once you say "end of mission", that's it, that's all, those guns go elsewhere.  Hopefully he learned his lesson (and no, he didn't fail because of that).

Now, before the flames come in, the Field Artillery School helped us immensely with these lessons, so it was not a slag on them what I say about their lesson plan.  It's just that the lesson plan is for the FOO course and future FOOs.  Also, previous courses had infantry guys giving the lessons who knew two things about calling in fire: Jack and Poo, and Jack left town!

von G, I was the orginal author of the supported arm call for fire lesson plan some time ago, (cranked up with that cheezey hill back drop because the IFT was down). Sad to say it looks like some IG's thought it was too simple and jazzed it up since. Noted. I checked with the lads in the IFT about this tgt record business and some did think that if someone forgot to record the Tgt, that was that, you don't get it back; simon says. But this isn't so. Yes by the book, fire discipline-wise if someone wanted to re-engage that Tgt he should've said record as Tgt, but someone sticking exactly to that thinking is being a pedantic dink. The IFCCS in the Bty CP records all the fire missions on a log automatically, it wouldn't take much to retrieve it. The bottom line here is if someone forgot to record the target, they would just have to say plainly what it is they needed engaged again.

BDS & SBD your sharing this information is absolutley invaluable and much appreciated. Your professionalism is unmistakable even in the way you have described what were undoubtedly traumatic events.
I'll do what I can to pass the word
« Last Edit: October 27, 2006, 17:28:48 by Petard »

Offline Technoviking

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Re: Lessons for the Infantry in Afghanistan
« Reply #74 on: October 27, 2006, 18:15:39 »
von G, I was the orginal author of the supported arm call for fire lesson plan some time ago, (cranked up with that cheezey hill back drop because the IFT was down). Sad to say it looks like some IG's thought it was too simple and jazzed it up since. Noted. I checked with the lads in the IFT about this tgt record business and some did think that if someone forgot to record the Tgt, that was that, you don't get it back; simon says. But this isn't so. Yes by the book, fire discipline-wise if someone wanted to re-engage that Tgt he should've said record as Tgt, but someone sticking exactly to that thinking is being a pedantic dink. The IFCCS in the Bty CP records all the fire missions on a log automatically, it wouldn't take much to retrieve it. The bottom line here is if someone forgot to record the target, they would just have to say plainly what it is they needed engaged again.

Hey there.  You're correct re: the target info is recorded.  The lesson wasn't so much to reflect "reality" as it was to reinforce a lesson with consequences, and in this case, the consequences were "missed targets".
That lesson was good, but I could tell that there were a few edits on it.  As I said in my orignal post, the FAS gave us stellar support on that course. (As they always do)
 :salute:
So, there I was....